Consistency and moderate over intensity.
I live by that. I coach people to train like that and I think it is key to long term success in the gym. There are however, times that intensity needs to be ramped up. Specifically, when you are training for something specific. I have a 25k trail race coming up in just under 3 weeks. It’s time for me to start ramping it up. I have been training moderately for the past 2.5 months. This allowed me to do a few things.
First, it kept training fun. I never had to dread the workouts or fear being able to complete them. It also allowed me to train more frequently. I could recover from my workouts and was therefore able to get more sessions in. The most important, is that it allowed me to gradually progress. The next 3 weeks are going to be tough in terms of training. But, I’m ready for it because I have been preparing for it.
There are times when your training is going to be tough. Preparing for a wedding, losing the first 10 pounds or maybe you have a race coming up yourself. Most of the time, you should live in the moderate difficulty training level. Too much hard training leads to burn out, no motivation and not properly recovering from your sessions.
The same goes for nutrition. For me, I dialed nutrition in for 60 days. Total lockdown. It was difficult and intense. I ate really well the whole time and didn’t cheat at all. What I realized though, was that taking on a hard training program and a hard diet at the same time was unreasonable.
If one thing (diet/nutrition/work/family) is at the focal point for you right now, you may need to back off on some things. It is impossible to be all in on several different things. Let me give you an example.
I started my difficult diet 1 month before I even started training for the race. Then, my first month of race training, which was moderately hard, I kept up the difficult diet. As my training got more intense, I allowed myself more freedom with the diet. I did this for two reasons. First, it allowed me to focus on the hard training and allowed me to get in more calories since the training was ramping up. The difficult diet became a reasonable diet.
This sets you up for success. Instead of trying to keep up both – I focus on one main thing. The one main thing is difficult. It’s high volume training, restrictive diet, focus on work/business. The other things become moderate or reasonable. Sometimes, fun is a priority, everything else becomes moderate intensity then.
Looking at your life this way can prevent you from burning out. It can allow you to hit goals without driving yourself crazy and prevents failure from coming into the picture.
I think too many of you get caught up trying to workout 3 days a week, run 3 days a week, eat healthy 100% of the time and find balance in your work life/family/social life. Keep somethings difficult and intense, but allow other things to only be moderately difficult or reasonable. We all know that multitasking leads to poor performance. So, don’t multitask your goals.
Set a priority, focus on that intensely and you’ll find that you have much more success. Are there times that everything will have to be difficult? Depends on the goal, but you’re not an Olympic athlete. If you do go on a hard diet and hard training plan and are working 50 hours a week and are taking care of your family – remember that it is not sustainable.
We train for life here, and if it isn’t enjoyable, you’re doing it wrong.